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My Favorite Recipes
There is nothing I enjoy more than cooking for people I love. It is a very special and giving part of me. Over the years, I have come to appreciate home cooking as a part of your love extended. It nourishes, relaxes, delights, entertains, and is enjoyed by everyone!! Every loving woman in my life has had a passion for cooking and I have admired and learned from them all!! I hope you will enjoy the collection of “My Favorite Recipes” I have put together from my Mom (Nana) my family, my friends, and my own kitchen to share with you and yours. Enjoy!
Di Leo, an avid home cook, invites readers to savor her family’s favorite dishes in this sprawling, well-photographed collection of more than 125 recipes. The collection’s chief strength is its abundance. From simple, everyday offerings (chicken casserole, macaroni, BLT sandwiches) to heartier, more elaborate fare (whole roast turkey, party dips), Di Leo provides food ideas for every occasion, often steeped in family tradition--a chicken soup is named for Grandma Teresa and a cranberry salad for Grandmother Leona. There are extensive choices here for all the courses of a meal, appetizer, entrée, and sides, and for many diets--vegetarians (asparagus ravioli), meat lovers (prime rib), and seafood aficionados (grilled swordfish) alike. And for those with a sweet tooth, Di Leo’s dessert offerings include 11 types of cookies.

While most of the dishes could best be described as American food, Di Leo also offers Italian fare—including instructions for homemade pasta and marinara sauce-- and her influences vary widely. Recipes are inspired by a variety of cuisines: French (seared beef fillet), Latin American (arroz con pollo), and Southern (buttermilk fried chicken). While this offers cooks plenty of options, the variety and lack of organization diminish the collection’s cohesiveness. Outside of being family favorites, ones Di Leo has cooked many times over, there’s little in the way of shared themes or techniques to the recipes — they require different equipment and skill sets, and they target different flavor palettes.

Instructions and ingredient lists can be vague. Serving sizes are only rarely included, making it hard to gauge portions. The collection’s strongest elements are Di Leo’s personal touches, such as pairing recommendations, or indications of which dishes her family prizes most. Here’s an ambitious collection of disparate dishes, brought together by a woman with a passion for cooking. And, although it’s at times ambiguous, this cookbook dishes up a bounty of possibilities.

Takeaway: This potpourri of family recipes covers a variety of cuisines for home cooks at every skill level.

Great for fans of: Erica Walker’s Favorite Family Recipes: A Year of Favorites, Alex Guarnaschelli’s The Home Cook.

Production grades
Cover: B+
Design and typography: A-
Illustrations: A-
Editing: B
Marketing copy: B+